"This has been Schoolgirl Report 3. We think it was more critical and more daring. Surely, it has opened your eyes once more. For that reason, you needed to see it. And for that reason, everyone must see it."
Impulse Pictues has released Schoolgirl Report Volume #3: What Parents Find Unthinkable, the third film in the infamous German Schoolgirl franchise that was an international sensation in the 1970s. A faux-documentary supposedly warning anxious parents out there about the sexual pitfalls that await their young daughters in the "New Germany," Schoolgirl Report Volume #3: What Parents Find Unthinkable continues the formula of the first two films, mixing recreations of tired (and in this case, some extremely offensive) sexual fantasies, along with presumably real "man-on-the-street" interviews with Germans answering a series of sex questions that relate directly back to the fictional segments.
For this go-around, an alleged "Christian Young Men's Association" from Hamburg has issued a sex education guide for youth hostels and camping trips, which puts forth the new creed that sexual experimentation is normal and healthy in young teens and should be allowed and even encouraged. This provides the framework for the various mocked-up recreations of "real events," first with a group of teens recounting stories at a hostel, and then a second group of girls at school remembering some of their first sexual encounters. Interspersed throughout these scenes are the Friedrich von Thun interviews with real people on the streets of Germany, which are intended as commentary (and often times used as justifications) for whatever sexual encounter we just witnessed.
Last March, I reviewed the first volume in the Schoolgirl Report (you can read that review here), and gave it a grudging "Rent It" because it was all fairly innocuous and obviously faked with older actresses playing the young girls - as well as most of the so-called "real" people on the streets. I'm not going to be so sanguine about Schoolgirl Report Volume #3: What Parents Find Unthinkable for the simple fact that this particular volume leaves most of the (unintentional) comedy behind to present some nasty, offensive scenes that serve to creep out viewers, not entertain them. Amid the "playful students splashing around as they skinny dip" and "the young Lolita tease seducing her boyfriend's father" sequences that are pretty standard for sexploitation films from this era, there are some rather disturbing scenes of rape-staged-for-titillation that I found totally unnecessary.
Obviously, "rape" as a thematic element in both serious and exploitive cinema (A Clockwork Orange, Straw Dogs, and Deliverance, just to name three more infamous instances) has been an on-going point of preoccupation with directors and screenwriters since movies began, and the artistic merit of focusing on such an act has - and will - be debated for as long as we have movies. However, in Schoolgirl Report Volume #3: What Parents Find Unthinkable, the two rape sequences are presented merely for puerile, seemingly "realistic" excitement, and as such, they're reprehensible. Their entire purpose is nothing more than showing the audience young school girls getting raped (the camera obsesses on showing their totally nude, writhing bodies struggling against their attackers), while the sickeningly hypocritical narration tells us not to look away or to be ashamed because we're witnessing "reality," backed up by self-serving statistics and crime data. The fact that the film continues to emphasize these are 14-year-old girls (to help smooth over the fact that these actresses look a few years older than that) just further makes clear the filmmakers' despicable intent. Listening to the narration, the film clearly wants to shock you, while then safely backpedaling on its own motives. Describing one of the rape scenes, the narrator says it's a "heroic" act by the boys...and then says such "heroism" is "abominable," (with no further explanation as to what, exactly, that means), but then later in the film, the screenwriter makes a case for justifying rape because a certain percentage of young girls are obvious teases who are "asking for it." It's all too hypocritical and sickening, and a real downer when you consider this is supposed to be some kind of light sex romp.
If that isn't bad enough, there's a sequence in the film that features an obviously underage young boy (perhaps ten or eleven), totally naked, who almost engages in sex with another 14-year-old girl (who looks closer to nineteen or twenty). While there's no actual sexual contact between the two, the mere fact that this young boy was put into such a movie, and filmed in such a way, is totally inappropriate, if not criminal by today's standards. With today's hyper-sensitivity about such matters involving young children, seeing such a scene in Schoolgirl Report Volume #3: What Parents Find Unthinkable, despite the fact that technically, the scene is "innocent," is extremely uncomfortable and unacceptable, and, taken with the "rape-is-basically-OK" sequences, a deal-breaker for the film.
Paul Mavis is an internationally published film and television historian, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, and the author of The Espionage Filmography.